Links are affiliate links of products I use, and I receive a small stipend for referrals.
How to Make a Printable in Minutes
Although this is the age of information, it can be a challenge to find out how to do something when one doesn’t know the right questions to ask. It’s hard to know the right questions to ask when you are a beginner. Beginners don’t have enough background information to know what to “Google” for the question they need the answer to.
A member of a Facebook group asked, “How to make a printable and where to start?” I made a video on my YouTube channel to help some of the group members, and that question is the reason for this post. Many content creators, including myself, forget what it’s like to be new. We are also so focused on growing at the level we are at that we forget the basics. I wrote this post for people who want to learn how to make a printable to sell in their Etsy shop.
Time is money. I’m more interested in taking the shortcut to doing something than the scenic view. Read on if you want to make a printable quickly and easily while still retaining the ability to express yourself creatively.
Two of the easiest tools to make a printable with are Canva and Creative Fabrica. There is both a free and a paid version of Canva. Creative Fabrica has a monthly subscription cost, but the price is reasonable.
Many printable creators use the graphics on Canva, so they don’t pay anything at all. While that may be a short-term solution, I encourage you to get your graphics from Creative Fabrica as soon as you can afford the membership.
Otherwise, your creativity and design will be limited. If your creativity and design are limited, you will not be able to stay competitive. Simply put, if everyone is using the same Canva graphics, how will your printable stand out among your competition? Also, Canva has a complicated licensing policy when it comes to using their elements.
The other thing you need to make sure you understand is licensing. Both Creative Fabrica and Canva have licensing rules. Canva’s are much more complicated. Make sure you understand the licensing terms of each site. If you are unclear about licensing terms, email that site and ask the questions. Don’t ever take advice from a person about licensing terms, unless that person shows you the documentation to back up their advice.
First step: Gather your Graphics before you Make a Printable
From the homepage of Creative Fabrica, enter the kind of graphic you want to use. I’m going to create a Wall Art printable as my example of how to create a basic printable. So I typed in the search bar, “buntings”.
Simply choose the graphic you desire and download it. Then unzip your graphics file to get it ready for uploading on Canva.
Second step: How to make a printable with Canva
Remember, my examples may appear different than yours if you have the free version of Canva. The free version and the paid version of Canva provide the same basic tools. However, the paid version provides more graphics as well as extra functions like resizing.
There are templates on Canva that you can use. For the sake of this lesson, I am going to show you how to design your own template from scratch. First, we will make a Canva template for your printable.
Click the “Create a design” button in the top right-hand corner. Type in “custom” in the search bar. Custom will come up. Click “custom,” then put in the size you want your template to be.
Instead of pixels I chose inches, then I typed in 8.5 by 11. This gives me an 8.5 x 11 template for my new wall art design. Now you are ready to upload the graphics you want to use.
So my rule of thumb for myself is to combine at least two graphics to make a printable. If I use Canva graphics, I use Creative Fabrica with the Canva graphics. I rarely use Canva graphics at all because the licensing is so tricky. When I use Creative Fabrica graphics, I use two sets. This way, I know if I’m using two sets and combining them into one printable, that’s going to be fine for licensing purposes. (Don’t take my word for it, I’m not a graphics licensing expert!) Using a combination of graphics also gives my design a unique style.
Designing as You Make a Printable with Canva
Next, you need to upload your graphics. Click “upload files” on the upper left hand. Upload the graphics that you want to use from your computer.
Next, click on the first graphic you want to use in your design, and it will automatically be placed in your art. Use the outline as a guide to move the graphic to where you want it to be. This guide also helps you to make your graphic larger or smaller.
Canva has several functions that you can play around with. My favorite function is the “position” tool, which automatically centers a graphic. If you want to center a graphic, click the three dots in the upper right-hand corner. As you can see below, a window will open showing options. Click on “position.”
After clicking on “position” you can choose what position you want your graphic to be in . The image below shows that my graphic is already centered vertically and horizontally. While I may want to change this later, it’s best to start a design from the center. Start your printable design from the center and move outward. Then as graphics are added to the design, the placement can be rearranged.
Once you have your graphics in your Canva template for your design, you will want to change the background. Note that for this design, I used two separate sets of graphics from Creative Fabrica. The banner comes from one set of graphics, and the animals from another clipart set.
To change the background, click on the corner of your template. In the upper left, you will see a multi-colored box. This is where you choose a color to change the background of your printable.
Click on that colored box. Another box will open up on the upper left-hand side. Click on the small square that has a + in the center. Once you click on that, you can choose a color for your background. There are two ways to choose a background color. One is to pick a color from the bar at the bottom of the color spectrum box. The other way is to type the color you want into the search bar at the top. I entered “light yellow” in the search box, and then chose my color that way.
Once you have finished designing your printable, it is now ready to download. You will need two versions of your printable in order to sell it. The first is a PDF version that your customers will download to print out. The second is a PNG. This is the version you will need to create your printable product image.
Make a Printable? Save the printable you Made!
First, you will save you printable in the PDF version. Click on the box with the arrow in the very top right corner. A drop down box will open up. Scroll down and click “Download.”
After you click “Download,” a window opens up that allows you to select the type of file, or version, you want to download. Hit the small arrow to scroll to the PDF print version. Check the “crop marks” and “flatten PDF” boxes. The final box “Color Profile” should automatically be set to “RGB best for digital use”. I always use that RGB setting, but I encourage you to print test your printable for both versions. This way, you can decide for yourself if you like the RGB or the CMYK version better.
After you download the PDF version of your printable to sell to your customers, you need to download the PNG version. Go through the same steps to do that. The only difference is that instead of choosing PDF as the file type, choose PNG.
Now that you know how to make a printable, learn to make images and ads for your printable.
If you are going to list this printable in your Etsy shop, you need to make ten images and a video. I use Etsy printable mockup templates because it saves so much time. Since I’m already creating my printable on Canva, it’s very easy to download my PNGs, then use another Canva template to upload my PNGs into. My YouTube channel, Etsy Shop Hacks, Tips, and More, has videos to help you increase sales in your Etsy shop.